How to Choose the Best Welding Certification Course near Marana Arizona
Enrolling in the right welding trade school near Marana AZ is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Marana AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Marana AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Marana AZ area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Marana AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Marana AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Marana AZ contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Marana AZ welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you select must be within commuting distance of your Marana AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Marana AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Marana Welding Program for Certification
Choosing the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a must that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Marana AZ.